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Handhelds Intel Hardware

Asus ZenFone 2 Performance Sneak Peek With Intel Z3580 Inside 108

MojoKid writes: Asus just finally made their ZenFone 2 available for sale in the US. It's an Intel-powered smartphone running Android Lollipop that's compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, and other cellular networks that utilize GSM technology, like Straight Talk, MetroPCS, and Cricket Wireless among others.The device is packing a quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 (2.3GHz) with PowerVR G6430 graphics and 4GB of RAM, along with Intel 7262 and Intel 2230 modem tech, a 5.5" Full HD screen, a 13MP rear camera, dual-SIM support and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The high-end model can be had for only $299, unlocked. A $199 version with 2GB of RAM and a slightly slower Intel Atom Z3560 is also available. In the benchmarks, the Zenfone 2 offers competent though middling performance but considering Asus has priced the ZenFone 2 so aggressively, it's sure to grab some attention at retail with consumers looking for a contract-free commitment.
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Asus ZenFone 2 Performance Sneak Peek With Intel Z3580 Inside

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  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Thursday May 21, 2015 @11:42AM (#49744017) Journal

    Does the Zenfone have enough performance to get the job done in the real world? Sure.
    Does the Zenfone win every benchmark? Nope.
    Will the Zenfone be obsolete in 2 years? Yup.
    Will the S6 and the iPhone 6 ALSO be obsolete in 2 years while at the same time costing a buttload more upfront? Yup.

    And that's why the Zenfone is the winner.

    • Exactly. I see no point in spending large amounts of money on the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S phones. In 2 years you will have to get a new one, either because it's obsolete, or they stop sending software updates, or the battery has stopped holding a full charge, or something has broken like the screen or one of the buttons (power, volume, etc). It's not really any fault of the device, it's just the reality of something you carry around with you all the time. Something is going to happen to the phone no ma

      • by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Thursday May 21, 2015 @03:01PM (#49745549)

        I'm going to make the case that your obsolence argument is invalid.

        iOS 8.3 still supports the iPhone 4s, which was released in 2011, 4 years ago. (I know there are locked-in android models where manufacturers have denied devices updates, though.) A two year old phone isn't even obsolete by capability anymore either. Nearly any app will work on a model made in 2013.

        Ditching your phone just because the battery doesn't hold a charge is a bit shortsighted... the batteries are cheap, and service can be had every hundred feet in a lot of malls. If my iPhone 5 battery needs replacement it'll cost me all of $20, installed. The most expensive service you can buy in a local repair shop for my phone is $89, parts and labour included. That's a full screen replacement without having to send the thing away.

        So I question the idea that a phone has a 2 year lifespan.

        • I've replaced iPhone batteries myself. It's not that hard, and once you've done one, the rest take about 20 minutes. Of course when I have to replace the battery in my Samsung S4, it'll take about 30 seconds and cost $25 dollars, (local money).
    • Yeah, you can thank Intel's contra revenue for that. Basically, Asus get the SoC and chipset for free.

  • Still like my old slide out LG Mach keyboard... gonna miss that...
    • by noxay ( 2614699 )
      I have been holding out with my Droid 4 Global for years now just to keep the slide out keyboard. 100 more missed calls and I may give in and get an on screen keyboard.
  • by oic0 ( 1864384 ) on Thursday May 21, 2015 @11:48AM (#49744071)
    So can I install normal windows x86 on this thing and use x86 programs, games, etc...? I can run linux In a VM on my android phones with good performance, would love to run full windows.
    • At 2 GB of RAM, and a 2.3 GHz Atom Processor it has similar specs to the HP Stream 7. No idea how much storage is on it, but I don't really see any reason you couldn't run the full version of Windows if you wanted to. I think the only reason you couldn't is that Windows doesn't actually have software connecting to the GSM radio and making phone calls. Also, Android and Windows Phone OS have much better handling of low power modes. I don't think the battery would last very long running full Windows or Linu

      • Too bad Atom x5/x7 is already out and destroys the Bay Trail stuff. The x7 in the Surface 3 is POWERFUL for an 'Atom' chip.
        • What about one of those Atom x5/x7 vs a Celeron G1840?

        • As someone typing this on surrface with that chip I assure you it is no powerful.

          It starts becoming jittery with Chrome at only 7 tabs and a few apps open. An adblocker for performance is a must for it

          • Chrome is known to be a hog. There are numerous complaints about it even for those using the Surface Pro tablets with i3/i5/i7 processors. It doesn't get jittery, because the processor can handle it, but the battery life is severely reduced when using Chrome. You should probably switch to Firefox or IE for your browsing needs. Look into Metro IE. It's actually really nice when you're using the device as a tablet. Best touch browser I've ever used.

          • What model? 64GB/2GB or 128/4GB? I have the latter and its really smooth. Also, Chrome is a resource hog.
          • Are you using the version with 2GB RAM? Chrome could be running out of memory. I would expect the 4GB version to behave much better with lots of tabs open.
      • They are selling two versions in the US. The $199 model has 2GB RAM, 16GB flash, and a 1.8GHz Atom. The $299 model has 4GB RAM, 64GB flash, and a 2.3GHz Atom. There are additional variations sold in other markets.

        ASUS isn't going to bother putting Windows Phone 8.1 on it at this point in time. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a Windows 10 version in the fall when Windows 10 for phones is launched - the summer launch is for desktops and laptops, the version for phones and small tablets will follow a bit la

    • I believe you'll miss the PowerVR driver and the bootloader or adequate firmware.

    • And this is why we can't have nice things.

      When smart phones and tablets were having their best growth, we were getting stripped down OSs and applications ... things were back to being measured in 'megs' instead of 'gigs'. They got smaller, and chucked the legacy bloat.

      But now we're back to having full x86 architecture and Windows ... because for some reason people want to cling to the decades of bloat we have and run Office, instead of actually deciding to take all that legacy crap and just destroy it.


      • by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think you could be more wrong. Yes if your talking the latest installment of Windows perhaps. But Legacy applications from Windows XP and even earlier days have a footprint a fraction of the size of 'current' apps while doing the exact same job.

        What I see is limited bloated modern software that doesn't let you easily have re-sizable/multiple windows or run background tasks 'properly'.
        Remember these tiny apk files etc. may seem small but they are an interpretive byte-code/runtime and the real resourc

        • I don't think you could be more wrong.

          Except he has reality on his side. Microsoft already tried pushing "full Windows" tablets more than a decade ago. They were abysmal failures.

          Yes if your talking the latest installment of Windows perhaps.

          Nope, XP tablets were pretty horrendous to use.

          But Legacy applications from Windows XP and even earlier days have a footprint a fraction of the size of 'current' apps while doing the exact same job.

          This is hilarious considering everyone complained about how XP and its applications were "bloated" when it was the latest Windows release. Everyone was then pining for the "lightweight" Windows 2000.

        • Firefox 3.6 may load those same pages with half the memory. But it also has a small fraction of the Javascript performance, and serious compatibility issues with modern CSS.

          Modern web pages are also overloaded with Javascript, some of which runs all the time in the background. Facebook is one notable example, and an understandable one because it automatically updates your social media feed. But it also happens with seemingly innocuous sites like Salon; despite the fact that their pages are basically static

      • Have you actually used Windows Phone?

        It's the best mobile OS I ever used. Android is garbage in comparison and needs rebooting has freezes and you can't pin mailboxes etc

        • Ah, yes. The OS that notifies my wife to reboot her phone daily, to avoid memory leak problems that haven't been fixed since she bought it. The OS that requires her to convince herself that "No, I'm not as interested in that app as I thought", because it's not available on the app store and has no alternatives available. The OS that goes into reboot loops if her phone goes out of range of a cell tower. Yes, I've used Windows Phone. If it worked properly more often and had a better app ecosystem, it would be
  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Thursday May 21, 2015 @12:01PM (#49744177)
    FTA: "It remains to be seen [...] how long the ZenFone 2’s battery will last, but we should have all of that data shortly."

    Ahem. Yes. That is one of my biggest questions about this phone, and the other is what you are supposed to do with it, given that the Android app stores' content tends to be geared toward ARM.
    • Most apps aren't geared towards any processor. Most of them are just written in plain Java and are JIT-compiled when run. So for those apps this will work perfectly fine. I believe Intel had some sort of binary translation to handle things like games where there is native code being used.

      • And, yes, I did fail to mention that Lollipop's ART changes when things are compiled, but the end result is the same. Most apps do not use any native code so the architecture change won't have any effect.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Exactly my thought.

      The review is useless without mention of battery life, frankly. If it's not at least comparable to a Nexus 4, well... I'd hope for significantly more.

      I'm mostly concerned with "do I have to put this thing on a charger to just make a phone call every now and then".

    • I have had a Zenfone2 for over a month now. I am at about 50% after 16 hours with moderate usage- checking email connected to Zenwatch, streaming music for a few hours, and checking a few websites through out the day, and play a few games.

      Everything feels smooth and no lag anywhere. While I have heard of some folks with applications not working on an Atom, I have not experienced any issues. Hulu, Netflix, Youtube all play smooth and cast to my Chromecast fine. Games play fantastic.

      Overall it has been a very nice phone and I am more pleased with it than my prior Nexus 5.

      • > I am more pleased with it than my prior Nexus 5.
        Since I was considering buying a Nexus 5 (to replace my MyTouch 4g Slide), your comment interests me greatly. Could you elaborate on some of the differences you've experienced?

    • Android apps are written in a variation of Java. Most contain no native code, and have no issues with a phone that uses an x86 processor.
  • Zxx80? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Thursday May 21, 2015 @12:04PM (#49744205)

    Boy, some people just refuse to let go of legacy processors...

    • And some refuse to see that ARM is crap compared to 14nm x86.
      • And some refuse to see that ARM is crap compared to 14nm x86.

        In what regard? Measured using which performance criteria?

        • Volume of available software.
          • In the mobile marketplace I couldn't disagree with you more. There are far less apps available if you run an x86 version of android compared to ARM.

            • What you are saying is 'if you only look at a subset of all software, x86 has less.' Actual productive software mostly exists on x86. The sheer number of tools, shims and wedges available is absolutely overwhelming compared to mobile.
              • You mean like the subset available to mobile devices? You mean the subset of applications that this device has access to? Yeah I fully agree x86 has less. Last time I tired (only last year) I couldn't even open a PDF file on x86 Android. Amazing productivity right there.

                • Saying something didnt run on x86 Android is not saying anything. Further, with lollipop, the underlying processor really is a bit moot. My x86 powered Android TV (Nexus Player) runs everything i throw at it.
    • by scsirob ( 246572 )

      Must be showing my age, but that's exactly what I thought! Played with Z80, Z280 and HD64180 for years, so I immediately connected this processor to the 8-bit world.

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      Intel did it long ago with the pentium pro, now its all custom RISC chips with a very small translation layer doing the "emulation" job in realtime.
      Also thanks to this scheme, you get to enjoy the relative binary compactness of the CISC architecture without having to deal with the horrid native CISC design issues.

  • I would have thought most (all?) of those apps were compiled for ARM.
    • No, most of the apps are JIT compiled in the VM when run.

      • Not with Lollipop. It uses the ART runtime as the default, and precompiles all apps for the local architecture. []

        • Okay, but Lollipop is only on a small minority of phones. Either way, my point still stands. Most apps are written in Java and are architecture-independent and are compiled locally so the change from ARM to x86 won't effect most apps.

          • But this article and the original comment are about the ZenFone 2, which is specifically running Lollipop. So it has the ART runtime, and JIT is not happening on it, and the OP was asking about things being compiled for this non-ARM architecture.

            Notwithstanding all that, I have a Dell Venue 7 that's also got an x86 chip in it, it gets very reasonable battery life, and performs perfectly fine. I don't think I've found a single app that hasn't worked with it, either, including many games and such. I've got a

            • But this article and the original comment are about the ZenFone 2, which is specifically running Lollipop. So it has the ART runtime, and JIT is not happening on it, and the OP was asking about things being compiled for this non-ARM architecture.

              Which is why I stated multiple times that the vast majority apps are not compiled for ARM at all. They are just pure Java. So whether or not they go through Dalvik's JIT or ART's AOT makes no difference.

        • Why must the ART compiler be installed on any phone? Can't Google compile the code ahead of time? There are like 3 architectures out there (arm, arm64, x86-64) so Google could afford to store 3 binaries isn't it?
          • Not all ARMs are the same. Overall yes, but each version of the processor has it's own various extended instruction sets and such. So Google could compile it for every possible chip and instruction combination, or just farm that job out to the phones themselves to make the best decision locally.

            • How many different targets are there? I don't think ART has more than 3 possible targets currently used.
              • ARM v4, v5, v6, v7, v8... ( [] ) all have different extension sets, as well as x86 having it's subset of extensions, and various devices adding on different other devices and such. It's a pretty big set, and there's no end in sight. It's better to let a compiler inquire what extensions a device supports instead of trying to compile for the upteen various current and future OS/architecture combinations, or they can just leave the device to decide what's best for itself.

                • by adolf ( 21054 )

                  So it's better to compile things millions* of times (once for each low-speed, battery-powered, handheld device), than it is to compile things hundreds** of times on a distributed and efficient server farm that certainly has a few clock cycles to spare.

                  Am I with you so far? Are you with me?


                  Can we compute the increased carbon emissions of this, including wear-and-tear due to increased battery aging and decreased lifespan (which more and more means death to the entire device)? Man-hours wasted staring,

                  • One advantage of the present scheme: the downloads are smaller. The compiled binaries take up more space than the source code does.
                    • The "source code" is Java/Dalvik bytecode. ART just replaces the JIT compilation that used to run every time the code was executed on Dalvik with a one-time compilation to native code. Is the bytecode actually that much smaller than an X86/ARM binary?
                    • Bytecode typically IS quite a bit smaller than a native binary. The amount of difference it will make for typical apps is limited because most of the bulk is things other than code: icons, images, sounds, data tables, and so forth - the kind of things that would have been in the resource fork of a Macintosh program back when they still had that separation.
                  • Can we compute the increased carbon emissions of this, including wear-and-tear due to increased battery aging and decreased lifespan (which more and more means death to the entire device)? Man-hours wasted staring, waiting for devices to compile their own apps?

                    It's better than JIT on Dalvik, which all non-Lollipop versions of Android would be using. You're complaining about compiling once, when the program is first installed. How about compiling once per time that you run the program? ART provides a net benefit over that scheme.

                    • by adolf ( 21054 )

                      You say that, but...

                      I'm currently toying with ROMs on an old Motorola Bionic, which serves as the central music player for the stereo in my garage.

                      I've waited minutes for ART to do its thing on a singular package, but I've never waited minutes for Dalvik to launch the same thing thing on a properly-working device using Dalvik.

                      They are therefore not the same process. You might think that they should be, and I might agree that I think that they should be, but they're simply not -- or at least, the ART compil

                    • I've waited minutes for ART to do its thing on a singular package

                      I've never seen that, but I can't say that it's unbelievable. On my device though (admittedly, a much faster phone), it's always taken under five-ten minutes to ART-compile about 150 apps, and the idea that invoking each of those 150 apps one at a time would cause a similar amount of JIT compilation has always sounded reasonable to me. Since it seems to work in my case, I haven't really looked into it.

                      Also, you sound a lot like the folks responding to those who question memory management on Android: "It's taken care of automatically," they say. "You can't do anything to improve it," they further proclaim.

                      I've seen too many memory leaks to try to claim that it couldn't be improved upon.

                    • by adolf ( 21054 )

                      The gold standard, IIRC, was for apps to get launched and be able to do something in 2 seconds or less under Dalvik in common use.

                      You're waiting between 300 and 600 seconds, one time, and still waiting for apps to launch (which I'm sure is not instantaneous with ART, no matter your hardware).

                      My daily-driver is a Galaxy S5. It is, by most measures, a rather fast phone in terms of internal storage speed and CPU grunt. I don't notice much (any, really) difference in loading apps between 4.4.4 (Dalvik) and 5.

                • I know there are many different ARM processors. But ART can't target ARM v4. So again, how many targets do ART actually have?
  • One Problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by BigFootApe ( 264256 ) on Thursday May 21, 2015 @01:03PM (#49744653)

    With PowerVR G6430 graphics

    The worst of the worst for driver quality and developer access. Nothing's really changed from the GMA500 days.

    • Is it really worse than Qualcom Adreno or ARM Mali?
      • Not much, but the disappointment is that it isn't an Intel GPU.

        • With Mali, Adreno, and Vivante there are viable or near viable options for open drivers. Despite having good development platforms (BeagleBone, Intel Atom boards) and a lot more lead time, OSS drivers for PowerVR are way behind. This lends credence to Wladimir from the Etnaviv (Vivante driver) project calling PowerVR's architecture a "tower of shit".

  • For probably 75-80% of your TYPICAL smart phone user, the mid tier devices will be all they would ever need, but, most consumers fall for the slick marketing, hype and got to keep up with the Jones' attitude and will go on the hook (even under an overpriced contract) for a flagship device. I did the numbers when I bought my last phone almost a year ago. I had been off contract for over a year with straight talk, with zero issue or coverage problems. At the time the S5 had been out and the OnePlus was just

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.